The hungry joined the starving when audiences fought and survived #1 The Hunger Games with Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss and the tributes of the twelve Districts of Panem to dispatch the weekend box office at $152.535 million.  The first film of the dystopian trilogy (the sequel, Catching Fire, is set to be released November 2013) broke both personal and box office records; the sci-fi action/drama was the highest-opening and grossing movie for studio and distributor Lionsgate.  Director Gary Ross’ The Hunger Games premiered with the highest opening of 2012, more than double that of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax‘s $70.217 million, and is the third biggest opening of all time behind Harry Potter and the Death Hallows Part 2 ($169.189 million) and The Dark Knight ($158.411 million).  Katniss, Peeta and Gale attracted 61% women and 39% men, and grossed $59.25 million in limited foreign release.

Though it seemed to be all Hunger Games all the weekend box office time, it wasn’t.  21 Jump Street was a very distant #2 to The Hunger Games but for this action-comedy, a domestic gross of $20.471 million for a second week continued to make it an unanticipated hit.  The $86.222 million worldwide gross puts the small to big screen adaptation $28 million in the production black.  Following in Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum’s footsteps, The Lorax fell one spot to #3 but stayed the eco-hit course with $13.182 million at less 92 theaters (3,677 theaters).  The animated film with the current highest 2012 box office earnings is at $198.712 million worldwide.  John Carter also fell one spot but Act of Valor remained at #5 for a second time in its five weekends.  The $12 million-budgeted military movie is $65.921 million strong domestically.

Even as John Carter sinks in the US and Canada, the sci-fi Mars flick is pulling in $172.1 million in green overseas.  Nevertheless, the $5.073 million in its third weekend to its current total of $62.407 million domestic gross is turning to be poor financial news for Walt Disney Company’s studio division.  With that news and the debut of The Hunger Games, the movie lost 537 theaters.

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